Losing Myself

Luc spent the entire long weekend working in the yard. Then out of the blue on Tuesday, he told me he’d written a new blog post on losing yourself in doing things that truly make you happy. I’m assuming the two go together.

He left me to mull over what truly makes me happy so that I can catch up to him. It’s been a week and I’m still mulling.

It’s not that I don’t do things that make me happy. I read. I write. I shop. I go for coffee with my Book Club girls. I sit in the backyard on Friday nights after work sipping wine, listening to music and hanging out with our neighbour-friends while our posse of kids plays around us.

But lose myself? In something I love? If I knew the answer to that, I’d do it more often!

I’m forever reading self-help books, surfing philosophical websites and filling out quizzes in Oprah magazine to try to figure out what my passion is and how to fit more of it into my life. According to all of my sources, when you’re able to lose yourself doing something you love, that’s a pretty good indication of what your passion is.

The more I’ve thought about it for this post, the more I’ve realized that whenever I get completely absorbed by some activity to the point that I lose track of time and everything else going on around me, the common denominator is that I’m controlling something in some way. Doesn’t sound very positive. But bear with me here.

I love to garden. But the things I love most about gardening involve bending nature to my will: I can spend hours pulling out weeds that dare to sprout where I don’t want them; edging my flower beds when the grass has the audacity to creep into them; neatly piling mulch around my perfectly placed hostas (or dividing and replanting them when they don’t grow in the direction I want); trimming wayward branches; and pruning unruly plants.

I also love organizing. I can easily while away an afternoon pulling items out of drawers, then putting them back in again in nice, even, categorized rows. My books are organized, as are the clothes in my closet. I even broke into one of my fellow wine-sipping neighbour-friend’s houses when he and his family were on vacation and executed a Kitchen Intervention. Along with a co-conspirator, we raided every shelf and every cupboard, throwing out expired goods, amalgamating boxes of cereal and stacking cans of creamed corn until there was a place for everything and everything in its place. I didn’t come down from that high for days!

And I love to edit. Give me a document that’s good but not great and I’ll lose myself in it until it is. It could be a one-pager or a 100-page report, but I’ll research, cut, paste, tweak, cross-reference, correct and polish without a complaint until it’s done.

I’m pretty lucky, I guess. Between what I need to do for my work and what I want to do for my home, I’m often doing things I can lose myself in. I have the joy of editing, organizing and gardening, followed by the pride of stepping back and admiring my handiwork.

And if it means that for a few brief hours I have some semblance of control in my life (especially during a period when so much of what is going on in my life feels particularly out of my control) then I guess what might appear to be a negative is actually a reassuring positive.

Check out Luc’s thoughts on doing what he loves.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Losing Myself

  1. Ah yes, the sometimes elusive concept of “flow.” I have to curb my flow activities now that I have children or else I can easily stay up all hours into the night (my flow is doing things that are creative like painting, blogging, etc.). I think it’s insightful that you’re thinking about it and more power to you that you get lost in productive tasks!

  2. Anne Lene says:

    I understand what Luc and you are saying. I can easily just like Luc loose myself “tearing down a shed” (if I had a shed to tear down). Just like I can loose myself in my garden. I love gardening and I love fixing and building things, I can get lost in a book, or like you – organizing. Painting a house? Yepp.. before you know it it’s hours later and the house is done, and in the meantime your mind have been able to roam free for hours 😉 And the great thing about loosing myself in a task, is that the body might be sore.. but my head feels great 🙂

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